The Expat Files: Living in Latin America A guide to moving to Latin America, finding work, and settling in.

November 30, 2012  
-A Quick update to our loyal listeners, please consider joining our growing community on social media, just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-More on the subject of building a house or an office, and the inevitability of your contractor trying to cut corners with or without your permission.
-Sure contractors will cut corners, and some of the cuts will be insignificant (and you can make some inexpensive upgrades when you move in). Many of these properties are still worth buying... though other shortcuts, structural in nature, are expensive future demons just waiting to rear their ugly heads. And matter how nice some places look on the inside or outside, many are lemons and not good buys at all for expats. But how can you tell? When looking to buy an existing house or building there are some telltale signs that critical corners were cut, where inferior construction lurks beneath the freshly painted walls.
-Skylights are ubiquitous in Latin America and very highly recommended energy savers, but all skylights are not created equal (nor are cement blocks either) - not by a long shot!
-While house hunting, you might just run across a stately older house with a bidet (or even two!) installed in the bathroom. Usually the bidet is not being used or used correctly and may have a potted palm growing in- it or it may have become a permanent birdcage stand. But believe it or not, a bidet in the house is a good sign that the house was well constructed and of first world quality…..
-The continuing saga of Expat Eddie- this time he tries out a nice, simple business expansion idea in a place where no gringo has gone before (what else is new?).
-A few surprises pop up in the latest news about average tax rates for individual workers (THOSE WORKING ON THE BOOKS) in various Latin Countries.
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 25, 2012  
-Expat wanabees always want to know if they should bring down electronic toys and appliances like their LCD TV’s, microwaves and home theatre stuff. Or maybe they should they just buy that stuff down here. What’s the best move? If they choose to buy when they get down here, what about the merchandise selection? Can they get the same “best buy” model smartphone they saw in Consumer Reports magazine with all the bells, whistles and add ons?
-The step by step process of how an expat goes about getting electronic items, TV’s, compluters or appliances repaired down here.
-When you have an electronics or appliance repair job on your hands you can either go to an authorized repair center or to any one of the half dozen or so “hole in the wall” mom and pop appliance repair shops in your neighborhood. Here are a few things that expats need to know before they make a choice.
-Johnny gets sideswiped in a hit-and-run accident and here’s how the whole strange episode went down…
-How to deal with your car insurance company- and how they deal with gringos!
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 23, 2012  
The Obama re-election effect in Latin America; and a few words about Latin politics in general: after all, it would be nice to know if there are any genocidal dictators in the neighborhood.
-Latins just Love Obama, but when you ask a Latin person why you get no good answer. In fact, of the 20 plus “so-called” educated Latins I’ve spoken to about this Obama love affair, none can actually name a single positive thing he’s done either. And get this; when asked who Obama is running against most just don’t know, and the rest just blurt “George Bush?”(duh?)
-Did you know that every major Latin celebrity/star like Shakira, Selma Hayak and Ricky Martin(yuk) as well as every American star with Latin blood like Eva Langoria, J-Lo, Cameron Diez, Jessica Alba and Sofia Vergara, etc., have come out gushing like idiots for Obama. In fact its quite impossible to find any Latin celeb who hasn’t drunk the Obama Koolaid.
-There has always been some confusion (with gringos and expats) about the actual definitions of the words Latino, Mestizo, Ladino, and all the dozens of various Latin American indigenous groups. And since the European/indigenous blood mix is all over the map, just who is and who isn’t “Latino” is often a good question. Allow me to throw a little more mud on the subject…
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 18, 2012  
-There was a big 7.2 earthquake in Guatemala some days ago (the last big one was in 1976- 36 years ago). When it hit, I was less than 100 miles from the epicenter and on the second floor of a gringo-built structure. So what happened to me and the building itself, with an estimated force of about 6.2 on the richter scale where I stood? Absolutely nothing happened. Sure, it was a 60 second white-knuckle rock and roll but no real damage. Meanwhile very nearby, about 100 died, 2000 homes were destroyed and 20,000 people were displaced. So how do you you explain my dumb gringo luck? Nope, it wasn’t luck at all. Its like the old children’s story of “the 3 little pigs”……. I’ll huff and I’ll puff…
-A few words about high-rise residential and commercial construction in Latin American earthquake zones (practically all of Latin America is in or near one). So, if you live in a 17 floor high-rise in Panama City, Caracas or Cartagena should you be worried?
-What about those Latin American mega 6 to 8 Richter scale earthquakes- the ones we often see on the first world 6 o'clock news? Are they in any way predictable, and how often might they actually strike the average Latin American city? (You’ll be amazed)
-More discussion about GMO’s and their penetration, or lack of it, in Latin America
-Do first world product recall notices filter down to Latin America? (ha ha, don’t make me laugh)
-Did you know that airpane-like black boxes are to be installed in all new cars sold in the USA as of 2015? It will track your speed, the way you drive, your trips, stops and movements for the life of your car. What a revolting development that is; but no such thing will happen in Latin America. (another good reason to move down here).
-Recent car theft statistics in Latin America and suggestions on how you can greatly shift the the odds against theft in your favor.
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 16, 2012  
The “lag time” effect we talk about is so very helpful to all of us expats when we start or do business in Latin America. But it does have a few downsides(it’s the yin and yang thing). But even then most of the time it’s the Latins who suffer for it, not us.
-A word about Latin university grads (called Licenciados and Licenciadas) and the laughably bogus titles they insist on using. Often when expats hear Latins address their own university grads we squirm, bite our tongues or just want to laugh out loud.  It seems any Latin with a half-ass degree is filled so with self importance he demands the “lower classes”address him by his new title Licenciado all times instead of his given name. (Thankfully gringos don’t play along and are fully exempt from this stupid ritual).
-A few stark examples about so called “educated” Latins and their noticeable lack of worldliness and breadth of knowledge. (I know I’m sounding like a pompous jerk here but after you hear this you’ll change your tune and agree with me on this one)
-Expat Eddie has a great new white-trash style website idea to highlight the seedier side of Latin America that could just go mega-viral. He wants your feedback on this one. You can mail him through me at: Johnny@ExpatWisdom.com
-A true story of what often happens when hapless expats marry into wealthy Latin families (here's a blueprint on how to jump right back into the frying pan again!)
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.expatwisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 11, 2012  

-A few words on the general reluctance older folks have to becoming permanent expats even when they are absolutely convinced it’s the right (and perhaps the only) move that’ll allow them to live out their golden years in a sane, happy, healthy way, on a low, low budget.

-Did you know that about 10% of long term expats are ex-hippies from the 60’s and 70’s? Most came down ages ago because they saw Big Brother closing in and anticipated the steady decline of the US and citizen's rights before any of us did. Most of them are now well established “soft-core” capitalists with “green and/or new age” small businesses. You’ll find they mostly inhabit certain laid-back corners throughout Latin America, though some are in high volume tourist zones like Costa Rica and Panama; after all, they came down decades ago when CR and Panama were un-gringoized and very cheap (thus many become very wealthy off the later gringo boom). So, have these ex-hippies retained their 60’s style “free love” and drugs attitude? Well kinda, and kinda not…
-Many gringos, new-agers, pseudo and ex-hippies have heard of the famous Shamanic consciousness altering experience using the Amazon basin herbal drug called ahayuaska. Though illegal in both the USA and Europe, ahayuaska is a protected religious rite  in Latin America and perfectly legal there. However, most gringos and expats coming down looking for the experience tend to get hoodwinked- since every taxi driver has a part-time shaman brother-in-law ready to mix a potion of sorts and do a dance for a Franklin or two. So what about the real thing, are the shaman's hoarding the good stuff for themselves?
-Johnny describes his own weekend ahayuaska experience courtesy of actual Colombian Shamans. These strange guys were on a university sanctioned cultural exchange trip throughout Latin America, dispensing their brand of enlightenment direct from the Amazon jungle. (and children, don’t try this at home)
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-The Expat Wisdom seminar team has been invited to present the classroom part of our  Latin America immersion seminar in Spain. Why Europe? Well, while the euro crumbles, Europe goes bankrupt, ”official” unemployment hits 25%, a new great depression looms. People are panicking and looking for a life raft. Not surprisingly, just like you folks are, many astute Europeans are looking to relocate Latin America to preserve their businesses, lifestyles and nesteggs. And of course they asked us Latin American expat experts to come over and bring them up to speed- expat style. Do check out our Spain seminar link on the ExpatWisdom.com homepage.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.expatwisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 9, 2012  
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-More info on GMO (genetically modified foods) penetration in Latin America and what’s been happening lately with the local small and medium sized truck farmers (they supply about 90% of what we get down here in the way of fresh produce)
-10 reasons why Argentina is cracking at the seams. Its really a very nice place to visit, but it’s a bad idea to consider as an expat haven. Its not only first world expensive, its on the fast track to having first world taxes, currency controls and a mess of intrusive Big Brother regs too!
-Another understated advantage to living in Latin America is the real dearth of shrinks and psychologists. Thus its nearly impossible to find any adult or kid in the common Latin working classes who is on any kind of psychotropic medication or another (like Zoloft, Paxil or Ritalin). And thus, due to a heavy ‘lag time effect” in the proliferation of psychiatrists, there is no prescription overkill here in any way, halleluiah! Bottom line: the Latin public is about as prescription  medicated as we were back in the 1970’s (ie; not much)- though with the upper-class gringo wanabees, (the weathy 3%, the I-Pad and helicopter crowd) its a different story. Since the first world is medicated to death, so go the wealthy Latins. They embrace all that twisted psychiatric crapola wholeheartedly.
-The latest first world fad to show up on the parental radar here in Latin America is the “bullying” phenomena- even though bully’s have been around forever and skinny nerds and wimps will always bear the brunt. But since bullying’s been a hot topic in the states for some years, it was inevitable that it would show up down here too. And the "lag time" was only about three years. It took that long for bullying to hit the papers, the media and the local PTA’s.
-Here's a common expat predicament; after realizing that you’re living the good life, your first world relatives (mostly the young single males looking for adventure and some of what you've got ) will come down to hang out, pick your brain, suck up your time and your beer.... yet another reason to keep a low profile!
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-The Expat Wisdom seminar team has been invited to present the classroom part of our  Latin America immersion seminar in Spain. Why Europe? Well, while the euro crumbles, Europe goes bankrupt, ”official” unemployment hits 25%, a new great depression looms. People are panicking and looking for a life raft. Not surprisingly, just like you folks are, many astute Europeans are looking to relocate Latin America to preserve their businesses, lifestyles and nesteggs. And of course they asked us Latin American expat experts to come over and bring them up to speed- expat style. Do check out our Spain seminar link on the ExpatWisdom.com homepage.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.expatwisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 4, 2012  
EXPAT FILES SHOW #203; 11-04-2012 (SUNDAY)
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-The Expat Wisdom seminar team has been invited to present the classroom part of our  Latin America "immersion" seminar in Spain. Why Europe? Well, while the euro crumbles, Europe goes bankrupt and ”official” unemployment hits 25%, a new great depression looms. Europeans are panicking and looking for a life raft too. Not surprisingly, just like you folks are, many astute Europeans are looking to relocate Latin America to preserve their businesses, lifestyles and nest eggs. And of course that's why they asked our team of experts to come over and bring them up to speed- expat style. So do check out our Spain seminar link on the ExpatWisdom.com homepage (er, it's in Spanish).
- The true scoop on chlorine and fluoride levels in Latin American public, private and municipal water supplies. Should you be worried? In a word, YES! But expats can easily solve that dilemma, and here’s how……...
- When forced to use a public (or any) bathroom in Latin America (or even in Cleveland), here are some simple tricks that’ll drastically lower your personal e-coli count.
-Now for some delicate (er, indelicate?)bathroom etiquette questions that never get discussed- but really should be!
-As things deteriorate up north, the prepper/survivalist movements grow and grow. So, are expats and gringos prepping down in latin America too? Here’s the story on that.     
-It’s been rumored that you can now safely drink municipal water straight from the tap in a few Latin countries like Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Panama. Expats are now reporting that signs and billboards to that effect have been popping up lately in many hotels, airports and tourist areas, etc. My advice- don’t even think about it!
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.expatwisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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November 2, 2012  
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
-A few important words regarding earthquakes and tremors as they relate to expats and general home building, buying and construction
-Expat Eddie has his own earthquake story
-More insider tips on buying existing houses/condos.
-No matter how “first world” a housing unit seems at first, most expats end up doing specific repairs, changes and modifications in order to bring a place up to their own living standards. Here are some common things expats usually end up doing themselves, …
-Cleaning ladies and maids are notorious abusers of first world appliances like dishwashers, microwave ovens and vacuum cleaners. It’s not that they set out to destroy them, its just that they probably never used one before and can’t read and/or understand them. Eventually they do get it, but only after you walk them through it step by step and have a bit of patience. Hint; its best to assume you are starting with a clean slate; that you maid doesn’t know a thing (no matter what she tells you!).
-An update on the spread of GMO crops in Latin America and their promotion by evil entites like the FDA, Monsanto and Dow.
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.expatwisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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